Unlike the Caterham, McLaren’s MP4-27 uses a more conventional shaped nose, yet still meets the new rules requirements. Even more important are the changes occurring elsewhere on the car. McLaren has dropped the innovative and unusual L-shaped sidepods for more traditional looking vents. These are still pinched in the center, though, which may help push air up into the rear wing. The rear end is also cleaner, with dramatically undercut sidepods with a view towards improving rear diffuser performance.
Ferrari, on the other hand, had to go geek and launched the F2012 online after their gathering in Maranello was snowned in. And just like the CT-01, Ferrari also went with a step-nosed front end.
On top of limiting the nose's height, new rules mandate upward pointing exhausts to prevent exhaust-blown diffusers. McLaren’s solution points the exhausts at the rear wing and will likely be a very popular trend amongst the teams, while Ferrari's layout points them toward the rear brake ducts.
Whether McLaren will finally beat Red Bull Racing this year or not, one thing seems for sure: They're currently leading the points race for prettiest car. And that’s all that matters for press launches, right?
For F1 junkies who don’t work up some froth at F1 car launches, take heart: The season itself starts in a few weeks. With the new rules this year, we’ll either have fantastically close racing or we’ll be witness to Sebastian Vettel breaking another record, as the youngest triple-World Champion. Hopefully, his car won’t look like a big blue platypus.